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10 Mistakes Women Make in the Gym

5. Balancing on the BOSU

I’ll grudgingly admit that the BOSU ball probably has some merit in developing balance. As such, it might be useful for Cirque du Soleil performers. It also makes for a lovely post-modernist style chair. Beyond those functions, I see little use for it.

Okay, I’m being overly snarky. Yes, the BOSU has some application for abdominal work or rehab work for people with hinky ankles and it can probably help with balance issues, but somewhere along the line, exercisers, most often women or their enabler-slash-trainers started using the BOSU as a weight-training accessory. They either put one foot on it to use with lunges or they put both feet on it while doing any number of traditional weight training exercises like dumbbell curls, lateral raises, overhead presses, or squats. Some morons have even taken this a step further by doing these same movements on a Swiss ball. (If you see someone doing the latter, feel free to hip check the ball and send them crashing to the ground.)

The thinking is that lifting weights on an unstable surface makes the muscles work harder to keep you from doing a face plant, but balancing isn’t the type of muscular effort that builds muscle. And, in order to keep your balance, you have to use lighter weights than you would otherwise.

Lifting weights – even light ones – while standing on a BOSU will make your muscles fatigue much faster, forcing you to abort the set earlier than you normally would. You end up missing out on the “money reps,” those reps at the end of a set where you activate the muscle fibers most responsible for growth. If all of that falls on deaf ears, consider that none of the major studies conducted on the BOSU have found it to build muscle any faster than doing the same exercises on solid ground.

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